Five Granada Students Qualify for the National Merit Scholarship


Kate Wang, Reporter

On October 13, 2022, five Granada students were named as National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalists, representing the top 1 percent of scores on the PSAT/NMSQT last year. Each year over 3.5 million students take the PSAT, and 16,000 of them become National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalists. Ruman Das, Tanisha Deka, Yoav Feigenbaum, Shunsuke Sakagami, and Madeline Straus were the 2022-2023 Semi-Finalists from Granada High School.

All of the Semi-Finalists applied to be Finalists last Wednesday. For that process, they had to write an essay, get a recommendation letter, and list their extracurriculars— very similar to a college application. 

We got the chance to ask three of the Semi-Finalists about their thoughts on the PSAT and how to get the scholarship. 

When asked how they prepared for the PSAT, the resounding answer was to simply study. Both Sakagami and Feigenbaum bought practice books to study before the test, while Das mostly used Khan Academy.

“The problems are very similar so once you understand how to do them, doing them on the actual test is pretty easy,” Das added.  

To qualify for the scholarship, the cutoff is around 1480 out of 1520 in California. Each score is converted into an index score and the index score needed to qualify differs from state to state. California is one of the most competitive states, so it is a lot harder to get a scholarship here.

For sophomores hoping to score well and earn the scholarship next year, the scholars reiterated that the most important thing is to study.

Das explained that, “As a sophomore, you can treat the test like a practice, but when you are taking the test as a junior, you need to treat it like a test to study for, not a ‘practice test.’”

Sakagami adds that, “If you are considering the scholarship, you need to study it like you would for the SAT.”

All the scholars are planning to pursue some form of higher education in college and are eager to continue their academic journey.